The Latest Trend in Latin America: Armored Cars
It's the new, hot trend in Latin America: Families with money are equipping their vehicles with bullet-proof windows so they can keep their families safe.
"In Latin American countries from Brazil to Mexico, the affluent are increasingly shielding their cars as a precaution against violence that has thrived due to weak police forces, easy access to guns and young, unemployed men on the lookout for lucrative targets," says a Fox Latino report.
Trying to improve their odds against crime, violence and kidnappings, the report says that Venezuela's wealthy have poured money into security. The number of bodyguards has grown an estimated 70 percent in the past five years, and it's common to see the children of wealthy businesspeople shuttled to school by armed chauffeurs, the report says.
Colombia was a pioneer in producing armored cars due to a long-running rebel conflict and drug violence, the report says, but now, Venezuela surpasses Colombia in the number of armored cars produced each year.
In Brazil, sales have risen from 3,045 vehicles in 2004 to 7,332 in 2010, according to the Brazilian Armoring Association. It says that about 85 percent of Brazilian clients are business executives and that fears of street crime are driving the increase.
In Mexico, says the report, an estimated 2,300 cars will be armored this year, compared to 1,200 in 2007.